San Diego’s Lincoln High has long struggled to vanquish its poor reputation, one so bad that it became the most avoided high school in the district. Three years ago, the school district thought it had winner on its hands: A program to route the school’s students to community college classes.

How’s that going? As Mario Koran and Rachel Evans report, the STEAM Middle College program is barely alive. It’s been reduced to one remedial course that won’t count for credit at four-year universities.

“School leaders didn’t inform students about the changes until the first week of school,” they write. “By then, some students had already gone to their first classes only to find empty classrooms with no instructors.”

Supervisor Punts on Measure A

Kristin Gaspar, a Republican and candidate for county supervisor, makes no bones about how she feels about Measure A, which would hike sales taxes in the county to pay for transportation and open space projects: She’s against it.

So what does the Democrat incumbent say? Dave Roberts is a solid ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. “He’s willing to say the plan is pretty good overall, to challenge opponents to propose something better and to claim one project the plan would pay for in his district is absolutely essential,” our Maya Srikrishnan reports. “He just doesn’t want to dive into controversy.”

Wait, what? Is he new? That’s what politicians do: They take positions so people know where they stand. Then, in some cases, they flip-flop due to principle or pressure or both. And so it goes. What’s different this time?

“I think this initiative is a good initiative, but so many people have taken an opposed stance and support stance, so I’ve decided not to take a public position,” Roberts says. “If I don’t feel comfortable taking a pro or con, I won’t.”

Bananas Ballot Will Be a Two-Course Meal

Speaking of ballots, brace yourselves: San Diego County is sending out a two-card ballot. Meaning voters will need to fill in their choices on two different, large sheets listing measures and candidates. If they’re doing it at home, they’ll have to remember to send both back in.

We have a day planned to help you get ready for the big menu of political and cultural shifts it is offering. But we’re approaching capacity for Politifest this Saturday. So if you were going to go, but hadn’t pushed all the buttons yet, get on that.

Story Turns Up Heat on SDPD Re: Rape Kits

The Daily Beast, a national news outlet, is out with a story titled “Pickup Artists Preyed on Drunk Women, Brought Them Home, and Raped Them.” And that’s not all: They allegedly were “instructors in the community of pickup artists.”

The story focuses on three men, two of whom pleaded guilty to rape here in San Diego, and mentions a “rape kit” — a packet of evidence taken after an alleged sexual attack — that wasn’t tested for three years. When it was finally tested, cops got a hit in a national database. The police department isn’t talking about the case, and it’s not clear why it took so long for the kit to be tested.

The third man was just convicted Wednesday.

The police department recently defended its decision not to test all rape kits to us.

Meanwhile, city attorney candidate Mara Elliott is now calling for all rape kits to be tested in the city: “I’m committing to end the backlog of untested rape kits in San Diego and to push for a comprehensive citywide policy to test all DNA evidence in sexual assault cases. Victims of rape deserve justice and the full support of law enforcement. Perpetrators of rape deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” (Times of S.D.)

The author of the Daily Beast story, Brandy Zadrozny, will be the guest on the Voice of San Diego podcast this week.

North County Report: Housing Debates Galore

This week’s North County Report, our aggregation of news from Del Mar to Oceanside to Escondido to Poway, takes a look at local ballot measures that will ask voters to weigh in on housing projects and policies. Escondido, Encinitas, Valley Center are all hot spots for the debates.

In other North County news, Poway gets persnickety over the color of a mural, Carlsbad targets “invasive palms” and Vista High gets a hefty $10 million grant to create a “super school” to “prove that rigorous, personalized learning is possible at scale,” whatever that means.

Quick News Hits: It’s a Date!

KPBS is out with the last part of its series investigating the San Diego-Tijuana nexus of “stem cell tourism.”

Legislators get paid for expenses when they travel to Sacramento. Makes sense. But, the AP, reports, “California lawmakers have over time crafted loosely worded rules for themselves that allow them to collect those payments regardless of whether they even show up to work. It’s a perk unlike anything typically available to workers in the private sector.”

Remember when a DJ royally muffed a performance by the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus at the ballpark last spring? The team is making up for it by sponsoring a December performance by the chorus. (U-T)

How bad (or good) is your street? A new city map lets you zoom in and find out whether your local roads are “good,” “fair” or “poor.” You can also check when a street was last repaired (only as far back as 2013) and when it’s due for another fix. (Times of S.D.)

My neighborhood of Normal Heights is looking pretty “fair” on the street front. Next door, North Park and Kensington seem to be in better shape, at least judging by the abundance of blue (“good”) streets.

On the bright side, we Normal Heightians (Heightans?) got to enjoy the spotlight yesterday. The post office spotlight, that is.

Yes, the Normal Heights post office celebrated “Date Meets Zip” Day, which is an actual thing. Our zip is 92116 — 9-21-16. Get it? We were the belle of the calendar ball!

“Residents and businesses were invited to bring postcards or letters to the post office to have the items stamped with the commemorative ‘92116’ postmark to mark the special occasion,” Times of S.D. reports.

Oops. Missed it. I’ll try again in 2116. Here’s hoping the roads (or the above-ground insta-transporter tubes) are “good” by then!

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors ( Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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